What do I believe about
relationship with God?

It is a place where I am not intimidated to say that I don’t understand the mind of God. It is a place of freedom. I have been reminded that "dying to self" or "denying oneself" is not a losing of myself but, rather, the place where I am set free to become all that God created me to be. It is a place of challenge and thought, rather than a place of having to give up the thinking process. It is a place where, in being reminded that God loves me for who I am and not for what I’ve done, that I am able to meet and care for others right where they are at. When Jesus was asked, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets." I truly believe that all ministry is ultimately guided by these powerful words. My heart has been broken so many times by that which I believe breaks God’s own heart. So many are often left to hurt while we, as God’s own people, try to decide if we can love them based on whether or not they are living up to our standards or doctrines. He has reminded me that He has called me, first and foremost, to love and to do that unconditionally and then trust Him to work in the midst. It is a place where I can let go and let God be God. I believe that Christ centered love is a love that not only comforts, but challenges and convicts. It is an accepting love that lets us view ourselves in the mirror of that love rather than a mirror of judgment. I believe that, for me, this is the essence of pastoral ministry. In this I am freer than I have been in a long time. I am again inspired by how spiritual a sunrise or sunset can be. I am again in awe of the thunder and lightning. I am again moved by a love so great that there can be hope in the midst of life’s crises. I am again humbled by a God who cannot be contained or explained. Using Paul’s words, from Matthew 5:16, the prayer of my heart is "Lord, let my light shine before men in such a way that they may see my good works, and glorify my Father who is in heaven, and, when they notice, let me say thank you."

- Woody Wolfe, Jr.